Find it difficult finding time to update your website? When was the last time you did it?
Yesterday? Last week? Last month? Last year?
Well, it doesn’t have to be that way. Changing your website shouldn’t be a huge project that you never quite get round to doing. It can be quick and easy.
Here are five updates that you could make to your website in less than an hour.
1. Change a photo
First impressions count.
The images that sit alongside your words will be the first impression that readers have of your website.
If you replace dated drab pictures with fresh lively images, you’ll find that people are more likely to read your website and share its content.
So consider changing the images on your home page. Or adding a new photo of yourself, your team or your business to your “about us” page. Or including a map on your “contact us” page. Or updating the pictures on your blog posts.
You could do this by
- using your own photos
- downloading a picture from a photo sharing site like Flickr or stock.xchng
- buying a photo from an image library like iStockphoto, Dreamstime or 123rf.
Personally, I find the quality of the images and the ease of searching is better on image libraries than photo sharing sites. iStockphoto is my favourite, partly because it responds so well to non-literal searches. It makes it one of the easiest ways to update your website.
For example, when I typed “extraordinary” into its search box, iStockphoto suggested images with a golden egg, a post it note with “don’t be average”, light shining through clouds, the great wall of china, fireworks, a man standing on a rock in a wild sea, a single pink tulip in a field of yellow tulips, greek gods on Mount Olympus and a whole range of excited faces.
Try it yourself and see what you find.
Writing tactic: Liven up one page on your website with a new image.
Time: 10 minutes to find a photo. 5 minutes to upload (on a WordPress website).
2. Edit an old blog post
Recently, Copyblogger re-posted exactly the same article about self-publishing that it had posted only three months ago. And that was ok because it was an inspiring piece with lots of useful tips that their readers will value.
If you have an archive full of great content that is still relevant and interesting to your readers, you can give your posts a second life by:
- polishing them so they’re an even better read
- proofreading them to make sure there are no nasty grammatical or spelling mistakes
- changing the examples to ones from this year
- adding internal links to other posts on your blog
- adding external links to blog posts on other people’s websites
- adding “if you liked this post, you might be interested in these” links at the end of every post like
- re-post it exactly as it is. If the mighty Copyblogger can do it, you can too.
After you’ve updated your post, make sure you tell people by sharing it on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or Google+.
Writing tactic: Find an old blog post that’s still of interest to your readers. Review, edit and re-share.
Time: 15-20 minutes for editing. 5 minutes to share on social media.
3. Make your headlines more compelling
If your website isn’t getting read or shared as much as you’d like, it may be because your headlines aren’t convincing people that it is worth reading.
Headlines need to have an ultra-specific promise that tells people exactly what they are going to get. They need to demonstrate your page or blog post is worth your readers’ time and attention.
Take a look at the headlines across your website to see if they promise to:
- help your readers to achieve a goal, solve a problem, avoid a mistake, complete a task or save time and money
- educate or inform them so they can learn a skill, acquire knowledge, benefit from others’ experience or hear the news
- entertain, inspire or move them.
If you find that your headlines are wishy-washy, overly-complicated or just plain boring, take the time to re-write them.
Writing tactic: Start with your home page, product descriptions, about page and most important posts.
Time: 15 – 30 minutes to review and edit your key headlines.
4. Beef up your calls to action
You’ve done the hard work.
You’ve crafted a captivating home page. You’ve written persuasive product descriptions. You’ve produced riveting blog posts that deserve to be shared across the internet.
Now you want your readers to take the next step. So have another look at your calls-to-action to make sure that they are pulling their weight.
You can motivate people to buy your products and services by adding:
- your telephone number or email address – to your product descriptions
- the name of the person to contact for more information (and their photo too if you can) – to your product descriptions
- hyperlinks to key products – to your “about us” page
- a short paragraph linking the content of a post to your product descriptions – to your blog.
You can encourage people to comment on your blog and subscribe to your newsletter by finishing your posts with:
- an invitation to share their own experiences
- a challenge to tell you if they agree or disagree with you
- a request to share your post on Twitter and other social media
- a “subscribe to my newsletter” opt-in like Pamela Wilson does on the Big Brand System (you could use a text hyperlink rather than a tick box.)
Writing tactic: Review your calls-to-action and see if they can be clearer, stronger and more actionable.
Time: 45 minutes to re-write the calls-to-action on your key pages.
5. Create a sneeze page
You could also update your website with a “sneeze page” (despite it being probably the yuckiest, most toe-curling term in the whole of blogging, the concept is sound).
A sneeze page is a structured guide to a set of your blog posts. It helps your readers to find their way around your blog. It helps them to find the posts that are most relevant and useful to them.
It propels (or sneezes) readers deep into your archive. It promotes your older blog posts so that they are still read and shared, not just your most recent ones.
You can create a sneeze page that:
- welcomes newbies by giving them a guided tour of your blog, like Leo Babauta of Zen Habits does on his “Start here” page
- solves the biggest problem that your readers have, like Darren Rowse of ProBlogger does on his “How to Make Money Blogging” page
- teaches them a skill that they need, like Copyblogger does in their famous “How to Write Magnetic Headlines” series
- points them towards your most read and shared posts, like LifeHacker does in their “This Week’s Most Popular Posts”.
Take a little time to introduce each item so that your readers can see what they are going to get. This is much more useful than a mere list.
Writing tactic: Create a new page with structured links to some of your existing blog posts that will work well as a set.
Time: 1 hour to write. 5 minutes to share on social media.
What are you going to do?
What will you do to update your website? It’s so easy to make a quick fix that’ll make a big difference.
Is it something that’s been bothering you for a long time? Or were you inspired by this post?
Please let us know by posting a comment.
About the author
Margaret Webster is a freelance copywriter who lives and works in London. She helps companies to communicate with their customers and employees by writing lively copy that is easy and enjoyable to read.
For more info: margaretwebster.co.uk/